Santa Clara University

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CASPIA Answers the Call

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Responding to the tremendous need in our society for trained professionals to oversee the responsible handling of computer and network security, the SCU Center for Advanced Study and Practice of Information Assurance (CASPIA) was founded to promote research, education, and good practice in information security and information assurance. Co-founders JoAnne Holliday (Computer Engineering) and Dr. Stephen Chiappari (Applied Mathematics) strongly believed this was something SCU should be involved with, not only because of the demand, but because the University’s Jesuit focus on educating students to be ethical, contributing members of society offers a unique position from which to participate in assuring the safety of network systems and the confidentiality of individuals’ computerized information.

As Chiappari says, “The widespread use of computers and the Internet that has revolutionized the way we live and do business has also left us vulnerable. It is the Center’s mission to teach how to protect against the misuse of computers and how to make computer systems safer.” Holliday agrees, adding, “It’s not simply a question of losing a file from one’s personal computer. Real damage to human life and well-being is threatened by a lack of security in the systems that are controlled over the Internet. Our power grids, water treatment facilities, and other intelligent systems are vulnerable to attack, so as engineers of conscience, competence, and compassion, it is incumbent upon us to teach our students how to combat this threat.”

Working with faculty members from the Departments of Mathematics and Computer Science and Operations Management and Information Systems, Chiappari and Holliday designed a course of study that not only prepares students to face real-world challenges, but also meets the National Training Standards for Information Systems Security Professionals of the Committee on National Security Systems and the National Security Agency. Upon completion of the appropriate courses, students may petition to receive the NSTISSI 4011 and 4012 certificates.

SCU’s Computer Engineering Department offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in Information Assurance. Students may choose a BS in Computer Engineering with IA concentration, a BS/MS five-year program (BS in Computer Engineering or Computer Science plus MS with IA concentration), or MS in Computer Engineering with IA concentration. They also offer an Advanced Studies in Information Assurance Certificate. For more information, visit the CASPIA Web site.